1B Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants
Belt was forgotten in drafts. He’s on a lot of my teams. He hasn’t lived up to lofty expectations and had a concussion last season. People were done with him. That means he was a late-round pick with little risk. Always make the pick if the skills are there. Belt, even more appealing in on-base percentage leagues, is off to an excellent start. He is batting .304 with 11 runs, six home runs, 12 RBIs and a 1.040 OPS. Belt was having his best season last year before a concussion cut it short. Belt’s upside does get hurt by his home park, which is brutal for left-handers. Belt hit a ball on Wednesday night just to the left of the 421-foot mark in right-centerfield. In most parks, it’s an easy homer. If Belt played in almost any other park, he hits 30-35 home runs. Still, he’s a good player. Belt has a 53.2 percent fly ball rate, 25.5 percent line drive rate and a 47.9 percent hard-hit rate. Belt isn’t a household name and someone you can acquire cheaply.
SP Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox
Porcello wasn’t talked about much in draft season. After winning the Cy Young award in 2016, Porcello wasn’t as good last season. He had some luck in 2016, so regression was expected, but it was 1.68 HR/9 that really hurt Porcello leading to a 4.65 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Still, for the draft price, Porcello was worth the shot since he went late. He had a few things going for him. He was on one of the best teams in baseball. That means he’s going to get a lot of run support and with so many awful teams in baseball, focusing on pitchers with on upper tier teams is more important than ever. Porcello has thrown at least 203.1 innings in three of the last four seasons, another quality that isn’t as common anymore. Porcello is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and a 32:4 K:BB ratio in 32.2 innings.
3B Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers
Candelario wasn’t even drafted in a lot of 15-team leagues. I took him in the reserve rounds of an NFBC auction, Tout Wars, and a few other leagues. He was getting the chance to play every day and hit second in the lineup. Sure, the Tigers lineup isn’t daunting, but the top four of Leonys Martin, Candelario, Miguel Cabrera and Nick Castellanos is good. Candelario is batting .290 with 13 runs, four home runs, 11 RBIs and a .908 OPS in 22 games. Candelario hit .292 with a .373 on-base percentage and .507 slugging percentage at Triple-A in 186 games.
OF Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
Puig is off to a miserable start. He is batting .195 with ten runs, zero home runs, six RBIs, three stolen bases and a .499 OPS. At least has three steals, right? Puig has a .246 BABIP, which is below his career average of .321. The strikeout rate of 20 percent and a walk rate of 7.8 percent isn’t that off from career averages. The hard-hit rate of 29.2 percent is slightly below his career average. There’s no significant change in his batting profile to indicate the struggles continue. Those with Puig need to be patient.
DH Edwin Encarnacion, Cleveland Indians
Once again, Encarnacion is off to a slow start. Last season, at the end of April Encarnacion was hitting .200 with nine runs, four home runs, nine RBIs, .696 OPS, 33 percent strikeout rate and a 16 percent walk rate. By the end of the season, Encarnacion finished batting .258 with 96 runs, 38 home runs, and 107 RBIs. Encarnacion is hitting .173 with eight runs, five home runs, eight RBIs and a .634 OPS. He has a 28.3 percent strikeout rate and a 7.6 percent walk rate. He is swinging at more pitches outside of the strike zone, and while there’s always a concern for skills decline at age 35, it’s not evident. Encarnacion has done this before. I would make offers to acquire him.
SP Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
Stroman isn’t as valuable in Fantasy because of the lack of strikeouts and high WHIP. The strikeout rate is 21.7 percent, which is up two percent from last season, but Stroman has a 14.4 percent walk rate, which is uncharacteristic. His career average is 6.8 percent. It’s only four starts, but Stroman had a shoulder inflammation before the spring, and it could still be an issue. While Stroman has a 69.4 percent groundball rate, he has a 50 percent hard-hit rate, the velocity on his fastball is down 1.3 miles per hour to 92 MPH and he’s throwing first-pitch strikes 54.6 percent of the time compared to his career average of 59.6 percent.
Looking for some MLB DFS advice? Check out our packages where members are DOMINATING day in and day out! Two of our experts just grabbed live final seats in FanDuel’s third qualifier of the season! Members are winning their subscription costs back in one night and the Optimizer has been straight up fire! And of course, special contributions from Dr. Roto, Adam Ronis and Shawn Childs! So what are you waiting for? Sign up today!